¡Feliz Navidad from Argentina! The country where everything is expensive and the Spanish is impossible to understand! Luckily it´s beautiful!
It´s been a very different Christmas this year, but lovely all the same. I rented a house for 4 days in Villa la Angostura, a pretty little town in the Argentine lake district, with an Australian couple, a Dutch couple, Whitney (my American travel companion!) and Peter, an English guy we met in Chile. Whitney and I arrived at the house on the 22nd, after a long bus journey from Chile and a long border crossing due to the sniffer dogs finding something suspect in a backpack belonging to a guy on our bus. We all had to get off the bus for an hour while they searched everyone´s bags. The journey was worth it when we saw our Christmas home - a massive alpine looking house surrounded by a beautiful lake, snow-topped mountains etc. The house itself was gorgeous, we had a huge balcony, huge dining area and lovely kitchen. In the living area we had an open fire (which we used, even though it was boiling!) and we even had a Christmas tree! (decorated only with a few bits of tinsel and lots of pine cones from the garden!). On the 23rd we did a big trip to the supermarket, returning to the house with 2 taxi loads of food and drink. Then we walked down to the lake for a swim, and finished the day with a massive BBQ, it´s a hard life! :) We had our big Christmas celebrations on Christmas eve, true Argentinian style. We cooked a huge feast, roast chicken, roast potatoes etc, accompanied of course with champagne! We stayed up until stupid o´clock drinking and dancing and playing games! Subsequently we didn´t do much on Christmas Day, just had a relaxing time on the beach, swimming in the lake and playing volleyball. I did drag myself out of the luxury of the house and hitch a lift in to town (yes mum, hitched, don´t worry we´d been assured it´s very safe here!) in order to call home with festive greetings. Unfortunately, despite the nice (actually rather annoying) man in the internet place telling me he´d be open, he wasn´t. I imagine he´d had too much vino tinto the night before and just couldn´t be bothered!
Yesterday we had to bid a sad farewell to our lovely house. The others went off on a 4 day hike, but Whitney and I have stayed in Villa la Angostura in a lovely little hostel. We´re hiring a car tomorrow for 2 days and going on a little road trip up to San Martin de los Andes, driving the route of the 7 lakes. Then we´ll be heading down to Bariloche to meet back up with the Aussies and the Dutch for New Year´s celebrations!